Marcel Tabuteau on Oboe Pedagogy

Introduction by Charles Lehrer

Tabuteau was extremely generous when it came to teaching his unique playing and phrasing methods to his students. Oboists studying with Tabuteau learned to improve their skills by way of the Barret Oboe Method, the Ferling 48 Studies, parts of the Brod Oboe Method (20 Etudes) and Gillet 24 Studies. Studies played and corrected in a previous lesson were reviewed during the following lesson, albeit transposed a half-step higher or lower. Scales and long-tones were treated to a wide dynamic range.  The study of orchestra excerpts, though, did not form part of these lessons. It is fascinating that Tabuteau did not teach rubato, because he considered this integral part of playing to be related to an oboist’s personality!

Tabuteau was definitely ‘Old World’ in his approach to teaching.  Not at all diplomatic, Tabuteau would raise tantrums and resort to insults when a student did not produce what he wanted. Included in his pedagogical repertoire was a wide range of imagery: anything to encourage the making of great music.

It is well known that Tabuteau could be so mean as to steal away an excellent oboe or part of one from a student in order to have it for himself. Despite it all, Tabuteau got excellent results from his students; the demands he placed upon them, tough as they were, are the same that he placed upon himself, which is why he is remembered as a great oboist and musician.

The information compiled within the following links was supplied by the oboists listed below.


Position of the Body

Position of the Instrument and Fingers





The Drive




Lessons and Practicing

Tabuteau’s Demeanor in Teaching

AG: Adrian Gnam

DB: Donald Baker

JPB: Jane Pearce-Bauer

JD: John de Lancie

JM: John Minsker

JMk: John Mack

JR: Joseph Robinson

LS: Laila Storch

LVB: Laurie Van Brunt

MS: Melissa Stevens

MT: Marcel Tabuteau

RA: Rhadames Angelucci

RF: Rowland Floyd

SW: Sherman Walt

WR: Wayne Rapier